Homestead Farm has been in the Burt family for over 200 years. Seth Smith
and his sons settled in Norway in 1794 and bought the original parcel of
land around 1800 with pension money for fighting in the American
Revolution. He and his son Josiah used the land to raise hay and grain for
their “Public House” in the village of Norway 4 miles away.
Burt, a frontier preacher, came to Norway in 1815 and married Josiah’s
daughter and in 1840 took over the farm. A dairy operation evolved during
this time and produced milk for cheese production. Seth’s son Henry,
grandson Zina, and great-grandson Robert added to the original 100 acres to
today’s total of 429. By 1900 the emphasis changed from cheese making to
shipping fluid milk to the cities. Robert continued the dairy operation
until 1963 when he sold the dairy. He continued to raise grain, corn and
hay as cash crops.
Robert’s children, Bob and Janet, have continued the cash crops and have
expanded the maple syrup operation. Today, barley, oats, soybeans, hay,
straw and maple syrup are sold from the farm.
Homestead was recognized as a Century Farm in 2002 by the New York State
Agricultural Society. The Century Farm program honors farms which have been
in continuous operation for more than 100 years by one family.